Every Ram has a story, and we want to hear yours
VCU Alumni has embarked on a project to collect the stories of alumni, in your own words, in partnership with PCI, a Dallas-based business that publishes directories and history books for educational institutions across the nation. These stories will be published in a book that celebrates the impact of Virginia Commonwealth University and its founding institutions, the Medical College of Virginia and Richmond Professional Institute, on your lives and who you are today. Every year that we don’t capture and preserve these stories feels like another opportunity lost, so we’re excited to get started.
We hope you share your story, but here are a few ideas to consider:
- Did a special faculty or staff member have a profound impact on your life?
- Did you meet your life companion in class or on campus?
- Can you trace your career path back to a defining moment at the university?
- Have connections you made on campus turned into lifelong friendships?
- Were you on campus during a historical moment?
With only our resources, we’d never be able to tackle a project like this. By partnering with PCI, we’re able to access their trained staff who are excited to listen to what you have to share. PCI is a family owned business based in Dallas that has published directories and history books for educational institutions, fraternities, sororities, and military organizations across the nation for almost 100 years.
PCI staff will also help collect and assemble the stories into the book that will be available, in print and digital versions. Other VCU items may be available for purchase through PCI, but there is no obligation to make a purchase. Our singular goal is to hear your stories.
You will receive email and postcard communications (see examples below) from the PCI team with instructions on how to participate by setting up an interview time with a PCI team member. We’d like to invite you to share one of your stories and take part in this groundbreaking project to honor the experiences and voices of our alumni body. This is an optional experience for alumni who would like to participate.
The PCI team will collect stories through December 2021. After that, they will enter a post-production phase editing the data and requesting your approval. We hope to have the book distributed in spring 2022.
Additional benefit: Reconnect with your alma mater
As part of this project, we are also taking this opportunity to help make it easier for you to stay connected to VCU. PCI will help us collect updated contact information from those of you who may have moved and/or inadvertently lost touch with your alma mater.
What do the emails and postcards look like?
The emails and postcards sent by PCI look like this, though the text might be different on some communications.
I would like to verify or update my information and share a story. How may I do this?
- If you have received a postcard or an email with a telephone number, you may call the number to speak with a dedicated representative for the Oral History Project. The representative will verify all the information we have on file for you, make any updates where needed, then ask you to share your story about your time at the university. Your story will be recorded and the sound clip provided to VCU at the conclusion of the project.
- If you have received an email with an embedded link, you may go to the online site to review your information and submit a story.
Can I choose what information prints in the publication?
When you call to update your information, you can tell the representative if you prefer any of your information be excluded. You can also communicate your preferences to PCI’s customer service helpdesk at 1-800-982-1590 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
I updated my information but need some more time to think about what experience to share.
You can call back at any time to share your story.
I shared a story and the representative said I could send some photos. How do I do this?
You will receive an email with a link to upload up to two photos (black and white or color) plus captions.
If you have also purchased a book but do not have an email address on file, you will be sent a photo mailer to send physical photos to be printed. (Note: photos will be returned if you include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.)
I’d like to add or remove information from my story.
The emails and postcards you receive will look like this:
You will receive an email prior to publication with a link to review your transcribed story and make any edits.
I ordered a book/package over the phone and would like to cancel my order. How do I do this?
Contact PCI’s customer service helpdesk at 1-800-982-1590 and they will take care of this for you.